The recent Dev Watercooler explains a rather significant change to threat. Read on after the break for more.
I would recommend reading that whole blog post by Ghostcrawler. The most salient point for hunters, though, is this:
. . . we’ve gotten over the concept that threat needs to be a major part of PvE gameplay. We have therefore decided to buff tank threat generation in a hotfix this week to where it’s generally not a major consideration. We expect the community to gradually stop using threat-tracking mods as players realize they don’t need them.
This will not mean a complete end to thinking about threat. If you get off an Aimed Shot crit with no Misdirection before the tank lands a single Shield Slam, you’ll still pull agro and mess up the start of the fight. Generally speaking, DPS jumping the gun and tanks missing their opening attacks will remain concerns. As such, DPS will still want to wait a few seconds before starting in, and Misdirection and Tricks will persist as a useful tool in raids and dungeons alike (GC even says “we like abilities like Misdirect”).
This change is aimed more at minimizing threat as a concern after the opening seconds of attacking a target. We began down this road with the launch of patch 4.0 when Vengeance largely did away with constant struggle that tanks engaged in with dps over threat (for more on Vengeance and other Cata tank changes, see this post). Now with this week’s increase of tank threat generation from 300% to 500%, the likelihood of any dps pulling agro once the tank has started in is reduced even more. And the change to Vengeance (it’ll build a lot faster) in an upcoming patch will only cement this in place, giving tanks large amounts of AP right away in a fight. The overall threat gains for tanks should be both enormous and prompt.
What does this mean for the game? Tanks won’t have to struggle with dps for agro once the fight is in swing, and dps won’t have to watch threat meters (or throttle their dps) for fear of pulling agro. This should accommodate even the worst offenders, like hunters who don’t FD and Fury warriors who never could. We’ll still have to watch threat in the opening seconds of a fight, and threat on new adds will remain a concern, but the struggles over threat that characterized the game before Cataclysm will now firmly be a thing of the past. Once the tank has agro, it should be a virtual lock.
What does this mean for hunters? Frankly, our threat tools will remain useful but will be less necessary. Misdirection will still help tanks as an opener but not by the same relative magnitude. Feign Death will remain a great asset but it likely won’t be something you have to perform every single fight just to avoid pulling agro. And, of course, these tools will have the same additional uses that they’ve always had: sending adds to the tank, avoiding mechanics, not dying, easing soloing, etc.
Is this a change for the better? I think it’s a mixed bag. It reduces the chances that some facerolling, know-nothing dps will ruin a dungeon run or that a tank’s incompetence will make high dps impractical. At the same time, it makes it much easier for tanks and dps to play with blinders on and not care much at all what the other is doing. It makes tanking less desperate (certainly when compared to WotLK tanking) but it also makes it less reasonable: why should a boss effectively fixate on the barely-competent nub with a shield rather than the very squashable magician shooting 30k dps into its side? The change will encourage more players to try tanking, but it will also encourage dps and tanks alike to faceroll even more. It makes tanking easier but it also makes it less interesting. I suppose I could keep going with this pros and cons list, but I’ll end it here by saying that I really do hope that the other changes to tanking that GC brings up in the blog post bear fruit and make tanking more dynamic and fun.